Published April 11, 2012
NEW ORLEANS – Jason Smith scored 22 points, hitting 10 of 12 shots, to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 105-96 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Marco Belinelli added 21 points and Greivis Vasquez 15 for New Orleans, which shot 55.9 percent (38 of 68) and surged ahead for good with an 18-3 run in the third quarter.
Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 25 points and Tyreke Evans added 19 points for the Kings, who have lost six straight.
DeMarcus Cousins had early foul trouble and played only 20 minutes, missing nine of his 12 shots.
Reserve guard Xavier Henry scored 14 points, while Chris Kaman grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots for the Hornets, who have won two of three.
Sacramento led 59-53 after Jason Thompson's three-point play on a layup as he was fouled, but then managed only one basket during a span of more than five minutes while the Hornets made their decisive run.
Kaman's 15-foot fade started the spurt, during which he added a basket from inside. Vasquez hit a pair of jumpers, Henry converted a steal into a breakaway dunk and Belinelli hit one of his three 3s as the Hornets built a 71-62 lead.
New Orleans' lead reached 11 when Vasquez's 3 made it 79-68 late in the period and got as large as 12 early in the fourth quarter when Gustavo Ayon tipped in Carl Landry's missed free throw as he was fouled, then hit his free throw for a three-point play that made it 84-72
The Kings pulled back as close as 94-90 when Evans' jumper capped an 8-2 spurt, but Vasquez hit a jumper and Belinelli found Kaman cutting to the basket for a layup to give New Orleans enough of a cushion to hold on.
Thompson scored 18 points and Terrence Williams added 16 for the Kings, who shot 43.4 percent and were hurt by missing 15 of 22 shots they attempted from 3-point range. New Orleans outrebounded Sacramento 44-37.
Thornton, a former LSU star and Hornets player, had 13 of his points in the first quarter, when Sacramento took its largest lead at 29-20.
New Orleans erased its deficit early in the second period and Belinelli's 3 gave the Hornets a 50-49 lead at halftime.
Notes: Hornets G Jerome Dyson made his debut, one day after being signed to a 10-day contract. The rookie out of Connecticut was the 21st player to appear in a game for the injury-riddled Hornets this season. He had 3 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal in 23-plus minutes. .... Hornets G Eric Gordon missed his second straight game with a back injury that forced him out of last Saturday's victory over Minnesota. ... Thornton scored 20 or more in three of his four games against New Orleans this season. ... Cousins, who had seven points, failed to reach double figures in scoring for only 10th time this season.